Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Catargiu family (1)

***The origins of this family ( whose name was sometimes and correctly pronounced 'Catargi' ) are not known, the earliest mentions going as far as ca. 1600. Around this time there lived in Wallachia Ioan Catargiu, an important nobleman. His two sons, Great Ban Ioan ( Ionache ) and Princely Table-Servant Nicolae, supported Radu Ilias as Lord of Wallachia at Leon Tomsa's death in 1632. The other pretender was Matei Basarab, who managed to secure the throne and defeat his enemies in a battle close to Bucharest in 1633. After this defeat, the two brothers went to Moldavia, where their descendants formed one of the countries great families. One branch remained in Wallachia, but not much is knowm about them. They probably stemmed from a brother or uncle of Ioan and one of them married a daughter of the Grand Chamberlain Constantin Cantacuzino. The most famous member of this branch was Barbu Catargiu ( 1807 - 1862 ), Conservative politician and orator of the pre-Union and Union era. He was the son of Princely Cup-Bearer Stefan Catargiu and of Stanca ( Tita ) Vacarescu ( see first paragraph ), daughter of Great Ban Barbu Vacarescu. There is conflicting information on his ancestry, some claiming ( a more likely claim ) that his father was the son of a certain Dumitru Fotache and of Luxandra Catargiu, from the Moldavian branch. In any case, the Wallachian Catargius were a very obscure family which at some point disappears from written records and Barbu Catargiu was of rather modest ( but yet noble ) origins. He served in various departments under the Conservative Lords, was Finance Minister of Wallachia ( 1859 ), President of the Council of Ministers and Interior Minister of Wallachia ( 1861 ) and President of the Council of Romania ( 1862, the first government of the united Wallachia and Moldavia ). He tried to push through a law confirming the entirety of what used to be the feudal domains as their landowners' private property, encountering the Liberals' and Lord Alexandru Ioan Cuza's opposition. He was assassinated on the Metropolitanate Hill ( underneath the archway of the Metropolitanate's belfry to be more precise ) after only six months in office, while he was leaving from a heated debate in the Chamber of Deputies. He was with Nicolae Bibescu, Police Prefect of Bucharest, in the latter's carriage, making him the prime suspect for the murder. He lived in the house that his mother had inherited from her father and also owned the Maia estate in Ialomita County, where he is buried. He married Countess Yelena Paravicini, a Russian noblewoman, with whom he had Maria, wife of Leon Beclard, French consul in Bucharest; he opposed the marriage on religious ( perhaps also ethnic and political ) grounds and disinherited his daughter, the Maia estate becoming an orphanage.

***The Moldavian Catargius stem from Princely Table-Servant Nicolae. One of his sons, Grand Constable Apostol, was father-in-law of Stefan Petriceicu, Lord of Moldavia ( 1672-1673; 1673-1674; 1683-1684 ). The other, Grand Palatine Gheorghe was grandfather of Patrascu, Ilie and Stefan Catargiu, great noblemen in early-18th-century Moldavia. Ilie was Grand Chancellor and his namesake grandson ( son-in-law of Grigore Ghica III, Lord of Moldavia ) founded the Russian branch of the family. Patrascu's son Ioan started the Russian branch from Bessarabia of this family. His other son, Constantin, was the father of High Treasurer Iordache Catargiu, one of the four members of the commission which in 1830 put together the working draft of Moldavia's Organic Regulation. Pro-Russian statesman under Lord Mihail Sturdza ( more Conservative than the Lord himself ), he was married to Elena ( according to other sources Pulcheria ) Rosetti, daughter of Grand Palatine Lascar ( Lascarache ), from the eldest branch of the Rosettis. Their children were:

***Grand Chancellor Constantin Catargiu ( 1800 - 1871 ), Conservative statesman, was Interior Minister under Regent Nicolae Vogoride ( 1857 ), but resigned before the infamous elections that caused Vogoride's downfall. He married Smaranda Bals, daughter of Grand Treasurer Gheorghe ( Iordache ) Bals and sister of Panait Bals. Their family was probably one of the 4-5 most important families in Moldavia in the later 19th century, having had an unusually noteworthy descendence, namely:
******- Maria ( 1835 - 1876 ) married Milosh Obrenovich, nephew of Milosh Obrenovich I, Prince Regnant of Serbia ( 1817 - 1842 and 1858 - 1860 ), and was the mother of Milan Obrenovich IV, Prince Regnant ( 1868 - 1882 ) and King ( 1882 - 1889 ) of Serbia ( as Milan I ). She met her husband in Moldavia, where the Obrenovich were living in exile after having been deposed in 1842 and replaced with the Karageorgevich; she never actually lived in Serbia and had little contact with that country. Towards the beginning of Alexandru Ioan Cuza's reign ( Lord/Prince Regnant of Wallachia and of Moldavia between 1859 - 1862 and of a united Romania between 1862 - 1866 ) she became his mistress and the biggest influence on him. Cuza became increasingly authoritarian and developed a clique around him, things which were associated with Maria Obrenovich's perceived negative influence. They had two boys together, Princes Dimitrie and Alexandru Cuza, who were adopted by Cuza and his complacent wife, Lady/Princess Consort Elena. Maria Obrenovich is widely believed to have been involved in the plot that brought about her lover's deposition in the coup d'etat of 11 February 1866; according to one interpretation, she feared for his life and offered to help the plotters in exchange for Cuza's safety. The army rebels found Cuza in the Princely Palace together with Maria. The two lovers went into exile in Germany, followed soon by Cuza's wife. Their relationship became less stable and Cuza died in 1873 after being cared for by his dutiful wife. Maria on the other hand became ( a bit surprising ) lady-in-waiting to the German Empress Augusta and died in 1876.
******- Sofia married a cousin, statesman Alexandru Catargiu ( see below ).
******- General George Catargiu married firstly Alexandrina Barcanescu ( see her and her father ), secondly Lucia Mavrogheni and thirdly Ana Rosetti-Raducanu ( sister of Radu the diplomat, politician and writer and aunt of Radu the general ) and had two daughters with Alexandrina: Elena married a certain Nicolescu, while Maria married Emanoil Baleanu jr. and was General Gheorghe Baleanu's mother.
******- Olga first married Nicolae Rosetti-Balanescu, Foreign Minister 1863 - 1865, who after the divorce married Olga's sister-in-law Alexandrina Barcanescu ( divorced from George Catargiu ). Olga's second husband was Petre Mavrogheni ( 1819 - 1887 ), Conservative politician, Finance Minister of Moldavia ( 1861 ) and Romania ( 1866, 1866 - 1867, 1871 - 1875 ), Foreign Minister of Romania ( 1866 ), Ambassador to Italy ( 1881 - 1882 ), Turkey ( 1882 - 1885 ) and Austria-Hungary ( 1885 - 1887 ). She was in her own right lady-in-waiting to Queen Elisabeta after her husband's death, becoming Grand Mistress of the Queen's Household ( i.e. head of all the ladies-in-waiting ) with King Carol I's support. A very stern woman, she was the King's eyes and ears, faithfully reporting to him on everything that was going in the Queen's circle. Later, she assumed the same role with regard to the young Princess ( future Queen ) Marie, who describes her in Her memoirs under the nickname of 'the Great Inquisitor'.
******- Lascar Catargiu married Princess Elena Ghica, daughter of Beizade Constantin Ghica ( son of Grigore Ghica IV, Lord of Wallachia 1822 - 1828 ), known as 'la belle Helene', and the two of them lived in Bucharest on Ban's Street at the corner with Manea the Baker ( now General Budisteanu ) Street( the present building of the Fine Arts University was built on the spot of their house ). Their children were:
*********- Lascar L. Catargiu ( 'Lascarus' ), who married Elena, daughter of Grigore Monteoru, a very rich, self-made man. Lascarus inherited his father-in-law's house on Victory Road, one of the most lavish residences in Bucharest. No children.
*********- Alexandru.
*********- Margareta, who was briefly married to Alexandru Ghica, youngest of the great statesman and writer Ion Ghica's children; they had three children.
*********- Elena, also known as 'la belle Helene', never married. In fact, Constantin Argetoianu in his famous memoirs describes the old Elena as a haughty figure and tyrannical mother who was using her children for the upkeeping of her own 'court', either as slaves ( the two daughters ) or as exchange currency ( he says that she 'sold' Lascarus to Monteoru, an upstart who with his enormous wealth managed to buy himself a noble connection ). Around WWII the two sisters ( popularly known as 'Berzalenele', from 'belle Helene' ) were still living together, in their family home on Ban's Street.
******- Elena married playwright and composer Grigore Ventura.
******- Alexandru Catargiu, Ambassador to Russia ( 1892 - 1895 ), Italy ( 1899 - 1900 ) and Great Britain ( 1900 - 1911 ), married Eufrosina Manu, first cousin of General Gheorghe Manu and granddaughter of Grand Chancellor Mihail Manu ( see first paragraph ). They had two daughters, Maria and Olga, and two sons: Barbu, married to Alexandra Cantacuzino ( daughter of Gheorghe Gr. Cantacuzino, 'the Nabab'; see second paragraph ), and Alexis Catargiu ( 1875 - 1923 ), composer, married to Mihaela Ghica, daughter of Mihai G. Ghica and Elena Vacarescu ( see second paragraph ). They had two sons of their own, Barbu ( diplomat in Buenos Aires ) and Alexis ( Bishi ).

***- Ana married in the 1830s Grigore Ghika V, Lord of Moldavia ( 1849 - 1856 ), but died only afew years into the marriage. Together they had two famous ( if a bit wild ) daughters, Princesses Aglae and Natalia Ghika.

***- Elena was married to a prince Sturdza, but for the life of me I don't seem to be able to find who exactly.

***- Alexandru Catargiu, President at the High Court of Cassation, was married firstly to Maria Donici and secondly to a Spiru. Among his children:
******- (1) Ioan married Princess Eufrosina Mavrocordat, niece of Lady Zoe ( 'Zoita' ) Bibescu.
******- (1) Dimitrie, nicknamed 'mos Mitica', married Elena Alecsandri, daughter of the great poet, playwright and revolutionary Vasile Alecsandri. They had two daughters, Margareta ( 'Margo' ) and Elena.
******- (1) Elena Vidrascu.
******- (1) Countess Caterina of Sant'Angelo.
******- (1) Mihail Catargiu married Maria Papadopol-Callimachi, who I think was Alexandru Papadopol-Callimachi's daughter, granddaughter of Princess Eufrosina Callimachi and great-granddaughter of Scarlat Calimah ( Kallimachis ). Their children were:
*********- Elena Istrati Dabija.
*********- Thyra-Maria, married to Radu Xenopol, nephew of the famous historian Alexandru D. Xenopol, industrialist. In the 1940s he was a close friend of Eugen Cristescu, head of the State Security; in that capacity he contacted Lucretiu Patrascanu, Justice Minister in the Communist government, trying unsuccessfully to broker a deal. He wasn't successful and he ended up in jail ( as did Cristescu ), being convicted in 1948 together with other industrialists of sabotaging his own mines. I own his promenade walking-stick and some silver of his wife's with monogram. They lived on Roman ( currently Mihai Eminescu ) Street and had no children.
*********- Alexandru.
*********- Mariette Moscu had a daughter, Colette, who was married for a time to Elie Carafoli, engineer of Aromanian origin, pioneer of Romanian aerodynamics.
******- Ana, married to Dumitru Rosetti-Solescu, brother of Lady Elena Cuza and of statesman Theodor Rosetti. No children.
******- Cleopatra Diamandy.

1 comment:

  1. Catargi is the real name of the family.
    Catargiu is for the individual person.
    The Catargi's family came from Constantinopole where we found mention in the 15 and 16 Centuries.